The Rose Garland

06-09 Klopstock
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
German
1724 – 1803

 

In the shade of spring I found her
then with garlands of roses bound her;
she did not feel it and slumbered on.

I looked at her: my life hung
upon her life with this glance;
I truly felt it, and knew it not.

But speechlessly I whispered to her
and rustled with the rose garlands;
then she woke from slumber.

She looked at me; her life hung
upon my life with this one glance
and around us rose Elysium.

The Storm

We present this work in honor of Eid al-Fitr.

Mohammad ben Sliman
Moroccan
? – 1792

 

Friends, yesterday my beloved visited; it was the middle of Ramadan,
and it was as if I had gathered honey and roses,
but I was accused of breaking the fast—
why shouldn’t I have done so, after so much solitude!
Isn’t the sick person advised not to fast?

After the long drought, the storm makes its drum rumble;
saber at the ready, lightning routs the defeated cavalry;
while the wind, that intrepid rider,
after a short rest is ready to rumble.

The downpour attacks, standard flying,
victorious showers that have the torrents on the run,
and wherever the eye turns
my overflowing heart sees only green.

From the fields in bloom rises perfume—
spring, a king with no rival,
and restful shade
have invented marvelous new clothes.

Joyous inventor, Spring dispenses his riches:
roses, wild flowers, concerts of birdsong—
in a festive garden
where the bee gathers nectar among the roses.

Friends, yesterday my beloved visited; it was the middle of Ramadan,
and it was as if I had gathered honey and roses,
but I was accused of breaking the fast—
why shouldn’t I have done so, after so much solitude!
Isn’t the sick person advised not to fast?

Written at an Early Period of the Revolutionary War

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 270th birthday.

Judith Sargent Murray
American
1751 – 1820

 

When will these rude tumultuous clamours cease,
When shall we hear the genial voice of peace;
My tir’d soul is sick of these alarms,
This vain parade, this constant din of arms.
I wish, devoutly wish, for some retreat,
Where but the shepherd’s pipe my ear may greet,
Where I may calmly hail the rising day,
On life’s eventful threshold while I stray.
I would in its variety enjoy,
The mental feast I would my hours employ,
To cull the flowers of wisdom as they grow,
To reap the fruits which love and truth bestow.

But ah! Alas! On a rough Ocean tost,
To all the bliss of social pleasures lost;
My little back by winds of passion driv’n,
Blown to, and fro, by each opinion giv’n;
Sees in perspective no auspicious shore

Which can its safety, or its hopes restore;
Terrifick visions in succession rise,
A host of fears the trembling soul surprise.

And can it be, will dark vindictive rage,
‘Gainst helpless towns revengeful battle wage,
When far removed from the hostile scene
When cities rise, when Oceans roll between

Must Glous’ter though obscure be doom’d to feel,
The British thunder, and the British steel,
Forbid it British valour, British grace,
And spare so little, so remote a place.

The Three Kingdoms of Nature

We present this work in honor of the 240th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
German
1729 – 1781

 

I sought, while drinking, to unfold
Why Nature’s kingdoms are threefold.
Both man and beast, they drink and love,
As each is gifted from above;
The dolphin, eagle, dog and flea,
In that they love and drink, agree.
In all that drink and love then, we
The first of these three kingdoms see.

The plants the second kingdom are,
But lower in creation far;
They do not love, but yet they drink,
When dripping clouds upon them sink;
Thus drinks the clover, thus the pine,
The aloe tree and branching vine,
In all that drink, but love not, we
The second of these kingdoms see.

The stony kingdom is the last,
Here diamonds with sand are classed;
No stone feels thirst, or soft desires,
No love, no draught its bosom fires.
In all that drink not, love not, we
The last of these three kingdoms see.
For without love, or wine, now own!
What wouldst thou be, oh Man? – A stone.

Corruption on the Loose

We present this work in honor of the 280th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Sidonia Hedwig Zäunemann
German
1711 – 1740

 

If you’ve stained your matrimonial life, deceived your creditor,
gained by lies your neighbour’s pasture and field;
if you’ve hurt your fellow-being’s coat of innocence or good reputation,
and with guile rendered yours
the token of the oppressed, which you had taken as a pawn:
Then you must not turn despondent, even though how grave they’d sue you at the court.
Soon only endeavor after an attorney, after one
who bears his good conscience in the manner that
he wears his sleeves, as if a priest’s,
who feels amused as highly by disputes,
instances of taking advantage as by quarrels,
as may feel a man, who’s been out at war,
who’s come to find lots of things to plunder,
one whose heart is full of spitefulness,
whose head of trickery,
his soul full of deceit and daring malice,
who writes seven lines only on one page,
but always swells all his writings into twenty folders,
who produces as many expenditures, as what is desired in every cause of conflict,
as he tosses and turns the procedure
until the case will have gone on for many a good year.
Him you ought to fill his bent hands with golden treasures from Ophir,
then soon will he lash out and hit on the rights of the opposite party;
then even turn to the counterpart’s and win that attorney’s favor, too;
bestow him a gift of a stately piece to wear,
a staunch and fat pig,
a barrelful of grape wine, as well as other nice things,
thus you will make that one mild and
he’ll be favouring you, too.
Likewise go and see the judge, and fill his hand –
wild men at hand – with gold from the Hungarian land.
And should he refrain from taking your things; then give them to his wife,
damask, silk and velvet for her body,
ribbons, laces, linen, and furs for her petticoats,
Fill up their store-rooms and kitchen house;
thus you’ll gain for any pending case more time,
your attorney will put things off,
your judge procrastinate them;
although how hard your opponent might attempt to see the final verdict coming.
Should he complain, o dear, tired of all the payments,
asking for justice at long last,

then it will be pointed out:
‘you have no rights.
He who’s been sparing the money shall always be the winner.’

Kubla Khan

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
English
1772 – 1834

 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Let Us Bestow Joy

In honor of the Turkish holiday, Republic Day, we present this work by one of Turkey’s most celebrated poets.

Nedim
Turkish
1681 – 1730

 

Let us bestow joy upon this heart filled with woe;
let us go to Sa’dabad, my beloved cypress;
here is the six-oared boat awaiting us;
let us go to Sa’dabad, my beloved cypress.

Let us laugh and play, let us enjoy the world;
let us drink nectar from the newly-made fountain;
let us watch the elixir pour from the dragon’s mouth;
let us go to Sa’dabad, my beloved cypress.

Let us go, for a while, and wander around the pond;
let us later gaze upon the Heavenly Pavilion;
let us always sing songs and recite poems;
let us go to Sa’dabad, my beloved cypress.

Ask your mother’s permission to go to the Friday prayer;
let us steal a day from reproachful destiny;
going through the secret roads towards the quay,
let us go to Sa’dabad, my beloved cypress.

Just you and me and a nice, old musician and,
if you permit, the mad poet Nedim,
let us, today, forget about the others;
let us go to Sa’dabad, my beloved cypress.

Proclamation

Alison Cockburn
Scots
1712 – 1794

 

Have you any laws to mend,
Or have you any grievance?
I’m a hero to my trade,
And truly a most leal prince
Would you have war, would you have peace?
Would you be free from taxes?
Come chapping to my father’s door,
You need not doubt of access.

Religion, law, and liberty,
Ye ken are bonnie words, sirs;
They shall be all made sure to you
If ye’ll fight wi’your swords, sirs.
The nation’s debt we soon shall pay,
If you’ll support our right, boys;
No sooner we are brought in play,
Than all things shall be tight, boys.

Ye ken that by a Union law,
Your ancient knigdom’s undone;
That all your ladies, lords, and lairds,
Gang up and live in London.
Nae longer that we will allow,
For crack—it goes asunder,
What took sic time and pains to do,
And let the world wonder

And for your mair encouragement,
Ye shall be pardoned byganes:
Nor mair fight on the Continent,
And leave behind your dry banes.
Then come away, and dinna stay,—
What gars ye look sae loundert?
I’d have ye run, and not delay,
To join my father’s standard.

An Ode on Aeolus’s Harp

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 320th birthday.

James Thomson
Scots
1700 – 1748

 

I

Ethereal race, inhabitants of air,
Who hymn your God amid the secret grove,
Ye unseen beings, to my harp repair,
And raise majestic strains, or melt in love.

II

Those tender notes, how kindly they upbraid!
With what soft woe they thrill the lover’s heart!
Sure from the hand of some unhappy maid
Who died of love these sweet complainings part.

III

But hark! that strain was of a graver tone,
On the deep strings his hand some hermit throws;
Or he, the sacred Bard, who sat alone
In the drear waste and wept his people’s woes.

IV

Such was the song which Zion’s children sung
When by Euphrates’ stream they made their plaint;
And to such sadly solemn notes are strung
Angelic harps to soothe a dying saint.

V

Methinks I hear the full celestial choir
Through Heaven’s high dome their awful anthem raise;
Now chanting clear, and now they all conspire
To swell the lofty hymn from praise to praise.

VI

Let me, ye wandering spirits of the wind,
Who, as wild fancy prompts you, touch the string,
Smit with your theme, be in your chorus joined,
For till you cease my muse forgets to sing.

Ode on Solitude

Alexander Pope
English
1688 – 1744

 

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.

Whose heards with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest! who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.